Moving. Different country. We have to leave ASAP. We understand you're disappointed. If we don't leave now, Mom and Dad will end up in jail, and us two will be in an orphanage. Or worse, Aunt Mett's house.

Those were the words my older brother Jim used to describe what was happening. Mom and Dad were always busy packing, selling, or donating our things.

I didn't have much of a choice. There was Sweden, our Danish(and very prim, strict) Aunt Metallise, or an orphanage. Which was worse? Mom and Dad admitted if I was that distressed I could stay with Gma and Gpa.

But I didn't.

Yes, I was upset. Yes, I understood that we had to leave, soon. I knew that they knew I was and still disappointed, and I knew staying there resulted in bad happenings.

But that didn't mean I was prepared to leave, right then, right there. But here I was, in Sweden. The sky was gray and gloomy. I knew it was snowing with a quick glance. I groaned and sat down at the table, resting my head on my hands.

“What’s wrong, dear?” Mom asked, an apron around her waist and a duster in her hand, her hair swept up into what must be known as the messiest bun in the world.

“It’s snowing again,” I moaned.

Mom put her free hand on my shoulder. “What else do you expect in Sweden? Four-hundred degree weather?”

“Mom, we can’t speak Swedish, we haven’t met anyone yet, have I mentioned that if we did we wouldn’t be able to speak to them because we don’t know Swedish, and I’m bored to death,” I replied, counting them off on my fingers.

“Honey, you know we had no choice but to move here. The country was taking passports in a week. And besides, this house isn’t so bad,” she called, moving back into the kitchen.

“But in Florida we had sun, Mom. Sun,” I whined. I stood up, my chair scraping the wooden floor.

“Honey, the snow has stopped. Why don’t you go on a walk?” Mom asked, her apron falling off.

“Well, my favorite show just came on, Mom. I want to watch it and then maybe I’ll go on a walk,” I decided.

“Well, alright, honey. By the way, what is your favorite show?” Mom asked, yanking the apron off with one final tug.

“‘How To Speak Swedish’, hosted by Jami Lorens,” I laughed. I could feel Mom rolling her eyes through the walls.

“Alright, honey.”

Jami Lorens had a guest-star, or what she called a star in training. They talked back and forth for awhile in what seemed like gibberish, and then she said something in English that caught my attention.

“I want to let all of my watchers know that there is something special that happens each day. That’s your Jami quote of the day. Have a good afternoon, folks, and tune in tomorrow to see the world’s funniest Swedish speaker!”

I sighed and clicked the TV off with the scratched remote. I glanced outside. It was still snowing. I stretched and was about to get up, when the house began to shake. The walls trembled, knocking a framed picture off of the wall. The floor shook up and down. As sudden as it had come, it stopped.

“MOM!” I cried, running into the kitchen.

She came out with a saucy spatula in hand, her hair falling out of the bun. “What’s wrong, dear?!” She looked genuinely concerned.

“Mom. You could not have missed the earthquake we just had.” I stared in awe at her. 

“Honey? Are you alright?” She ran and put the spatula back into it’s pot and wiped her hands on her jeans.

I collapsed into a chair. “There was an earthquake, Mom. A really big one.”

She felt my forehead, then put her hands on her hips. “Is this a joke like the ‘fire’ in Florida? Really, Jo, this is not the time for jokes.”

“It’s not a joke!” I yelled. “The walls, the floor; everything was shaking! A picture fell off the-the picture! Come here, Mom! Come see the picture that fell off of the wall! I’m serious!”

I dragged her into the living room. I gasped and fell into the recliner. The video games were back in their box, organized neatly by color, alphabetically, and when they came out. The picture was straight on the wall. The remote was on the arm of the recliner, where I had set it before it has fallen off. The books that had fallen were back on the bookshelf.

“Oooooooooohhhh,” I began to moan.

Mom got on her knees and stared into my face. “You’re positive you’re not joking?”

“Nooo!” I shook my head, sobbing.

“Maybe you should go on that walk. Maybe you’ll meet someone new that you can talk to,” Mom suggested.

I wiped my face with the back of my sweatshirt sleeve. “Alright. All I know how to say in Swedish is Hej and Jag talar inte Svenska. And Engelska talar du?

“What does that mean?” Mom asked.

“Hello, I do not speak Swedish, and Do you speak English?” I explained.

“Swell. Do you know how to say I just felt an earthquake. Did you?” Mom snorted.

“No, but if I meet someone who can speak both I can ask them,” I laughed.

After slipping on the necessities, I scurried outside into the cold. After a few minutes down the sidewalk, I sighed. Fat chance I would meet anyone out in this blizzard, I thought glumly. Soon I reached a snow-covered street sign. I wiped the snow off with my red mittens and read Misty Avenue, crossing with Delver Street. I’ll be able to see my footprints, anyway, I decided. I glanced both ways, as Mom had taught me in Florida.

With no cars in sight, I crossed. But after awhile, it began snowing. Very softly, but not yet a flurry. I turned around to head back, when I realized there were no footprints.


I retraced my steps. Slow, at first. I stomped as hard as I could, and it still didn’t leave a mark. I began running home. 

Delver, Misty. Delver, Misty. Delver, Misty! I finally reached the sign, and I ran even faster. Up the steps and into the house, my breathing short and quick.


She ran into the mud room. “What happened?!” 

“I kept stomping in the snow, and my boots weren’t leaving any prints!” I said. I began sobbing again as she helped take my coat off and eased me onto the couch.

“Honey, I’m positive that you knew that the snow stopped leaving footprints years ago. It got too plasticky, and they had to change their recipe,” Mom said seriously.

“No they didn’t! We’ve never had fake snow!” I yelled.

Mom eyed me. "We've been creating snow ever since we had to create our own 'freezing' temperatures back in '06."

"'06 of what?" I asked.

"As in '06 of 3006?" Mom retorted.

"It was only 2863 when I left home, Mom. What happened?" I wiped my face.

“Honey.” Mom looked straight at me. “I think you fell through time.”

January 09, 2020 23:44

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RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

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